Getting Started with Canvas: Faculty FAQ's

What do I need to know about the overall transition?

  • Development courses available! Only a small portion of instructors adopted Canvas during our Fall 2017 Pilot. However, you have been given development sites whether or not you are part of the Canvas Pilot. These development sites are blank course shells that you can use to become familiar with Canvas and/or create course site templates for the classes you teach.  If you would like any additional development sites please request them via email sent to
  • Migration of Existing Blackboard Content: To help you get started with course building, content from the past three years of Blackboard courses (i.e., Fall 2015 through Spring 2018) will be migrated automatically.  We expect the migration process to be complete by August 1, 2018 and you will automatically be assigned access to your historical course content when the migration is complete.
  • Starting in Spring 2019, ALL instructors will be using Canvas and Blackboard content will become "view only".
  • You will lose access to all of your content in Blackboard in 2019. Before you lose access, make certain you retrieve course syllabi, content, etc., that you think you might need before Blackboard disappears forever.
  • Campus testers loved Canvas and we think you will too! The results of campus-wide testing during our LMS Evaluation process were resounding: testers preferred Canvas to the leading competitor by a margin of 3 to 1 and praised its user-friendly design.
  • You DO NOT need to create or register for a Canvas account. You can simply use your standard campus username and password to access Canvas.
  • Be sure to set your notification preferences once you begin using Canvas.

How do I log in?

You can access Canvas directly at or navigate to Canvas from My Sac State. Canvas uses your standard campus username and password as your login.

Canvas also offers a Teacher app which provides a limited set of the full system's functionality: iOS and Android

Do I need to activate my courses in Canvas or request student enrollments?

Beginning with Spring 2018, courses shells will automatically be created in Canvas and will be available to you as an instructor as soon as you're assigned to those courses in the class schedule.There's no need to request course activation or student enrollments. All of that will happen automatically.

When can students access my course(s)? 

You have full control over when your course content becomes viewable to students using a combination of the course's published status and start/end dates.

By default, students will be able to access your course beginning on the first day of instruction for the term IF you have published your course and students will lose access to your course two weeks after grades are due for the term.

If you want students to see course content before the official start of instruction and/or longer than a few weeks after grading ends, you're free to edit the Start and End Dates for your course.

What if I need additional Blackboard content moved to Canvas after the initial migration is complete in October?

The initial bulk migration process will migrate Fall 2015 through Summer 2017 Blackboard course content to Canvas along with content from any departmental/on-going courses. If this initial migration does not include some of the Blackboard content you need, you can submit an online request to have your content moved or try migrating your own course content.

How do I navigate Canvas?

There are many ways to learn about Canvas:

How do I get quick help with Canvas?

The Academic Technology Center is here to help you every step of the way!

Have a question right now? The answers are often readily available by searching the Canvas Community! Or, you can always email us at, call us at (916)278-2450, or visit us in AIRC 2005.